Review: MSI R9 270 Gaming 2GB

Posted November 13, 2013 by Sam Chen in Reviews
Navigation:

Best Under $200 Graphics Card?

msi-radeon-r9-270-gaming-2gb-graphics-card-custom-pc-review-22If you haven’t heard already, over the past couple weeks AMD has been on a graphics card launch frenzy launching a number of new graphics cards including the Radeon R9 270X, R9 280X, R9 290X and the R9 290. While impressive, with the exception of the R9 290X and the R9 290, most of the R9 200 lineup that’s been launched already is still based off AMD’s last generation GPU technology with the R9 280 series based off the Tahiti GPU found in the Radeon HD 7900 series and the R9 270 series based off the Pitcairn GPU found on the Radeon HD 7800 series. Given that AMD is expected to launch around eight GPUs for the R9 200 series before the end of the holiday season, it’s not all that surprising.

While it is disappointing that AMD is essentially re-branding a number of their GPUs for the new generation, I think it’s much needed especially from a marketing standpoint even if AMD doesn’t have a brand, brand new GPU to go with the new name. Over the past year and a half, AMD has made a lot of improvements to the drivers and the 28nm manufacturing process in a way that significantly improves the older Pitcairn and Tahiti GPUs. Given that most reviews on the Radeon HD 7800 and HD 7900 series were written before most of these changes were implemented, giving the old GPUs a new name and a new SKU is actually a good idea.

Specifications

GPU AMD Radeon HD 7850 AMD Radeon HD 7870 AMD Radeon R9 270 AMD Radeon R9 270X
Codename Pitcairn Pro Pitcairn XT Curacao Pro Curacao XT
Fabrication 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
Core Clock 860MHz 1000MHz 900MHz Base / 925MHz Boost 1000MHz (Base) / 1050MHz (Boost)
Stream Processors 1024 1280 1280 1280
Texture Units 64 80 80 80
ROPs 32 32 32 32
Memory Buffer Size 2GB GDDR5 2GB GDDR5 2GB GDDR5 2GB GDDR5
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Frequency 1125MHz (4.5 GHz Effective) 1200MHz (4.8GHz Effective) 1400MHz (5.6 GHz Effective) 1400MHz (5.6 GHz Effective)
Additional Features N/A N/A Mantle Mantle

Today AMD is launching yet another graphics card, the AMD Radeon R9 270, which theoretically could be called the successor to the HD 7850 or the HD 7870. Spec-wise, the R9 270 looks very, very good. Whereas the HD 7850 was a logical step down from the HD 7870, the R9 270 on the other hand doesn’t seem like much of a step down from the R9 270X. The R9 270 carries the same 1280 stream processors, the same 80 TUs, the same 32 ROPs, and has the same 2GB of GDDR5 running off a 256-bit memory interface found on the R9 270X. The main difference lies only in the clock speeds with the R9 270X coming in at around 100-125MHz faster than the R9 270. That said, we’re talking about only a difference of ~10% in clock speeds and if overclocking headroom is there, then the R9 270 could be a seriously good buy.

AMD Radeon R9 270 MSI R9 270 Gaming
Codename Curacao Pro Curacao Pro
Fabrication 28nm 28nm
Core Clock 900MHz Base / 925MHz Boost 900MHz (Base) / 975MHz (Boost)
Stream Processors 1280 1280
Texture Units 80 80
ROPs 32 32
Memory Buffer Size 2GB GDDR5 2GB GDDR5
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Frequency 1400MHz (5.6 GHz Effective) 1400MHz (5.6 GHz Effective)
Additional Features Mantle Mantle
Military Class 4
Twin Frozr IV

For our review today, we’ll be taking a look at MSI’s custom implementation of the R9 270, the MSI R9 270 Gaming 2GB. The MSI R9 270 Gaming includes all the base features of the R9 270, but also features a number of MSI custom features including their inclusion of Military Class 4 components, their Twin Frozr IV cooler, and a mild overclock up to 975MHz.

Let’s go ahead and take a closer look…


About the Author

Sam Chen

Editor-in-Chief